LISBON, April 16 (Reuters) – Portugal has lifted its ban on flights to and from Britain and Brazil for work and studies but not for tourism, the government said on Friday, while restrictions on travel by land and sea to Spain will stay in place for another 15 days.
The country suspended all but humanitarian and repatriation flights to and from Brazil and the United Kingdom in mid-January to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants and imposed border controls with neighbouring Spain on Jan. 28.
The interior ministry said the border restrictions with Spain, which has a higher infection rate than Portugal, would continue until the end of the month based on a bilateral agreement. The measures do not prevent Portuguese citizens or residents from entering the country.
“The suspension of flights to and from Brazil and the United Kingdom is lifted, for essential journeys only – as was already the case for flights from third countries,” it said.
Essential travel applies to those who enter or leave Portugal for professional, study, family reunion, health or humanitarian reasons.
Britain has not yet said when wider travel could resume and which countries would be on its green list of low-risk destinations after suspending all but humanitarian and repatriation flights in mid-January.
Passengers coming to Portugal from South Africa, Brazil or countries with a COVID-19 incidence rate equal to or higher than 500 cases per 100,000 inhabitants must go into isolation for 14 days.
Portugal has been easing the lockdown it imposed in January to curb what was at that point the world’s worst COVID-19 surge by population.
Most Portuguese regions will enter the third phase of lockdown easing next week, but stricter rules will stay in place in municipalities where transmission rates remain high.
The nation of 10 million people has registered 829,911 infections and 16,937 deaths since the start of the pandemic. (Reporting by Patrícia Vicente Rua, Editing by Andrei Khalip and Hugh Lawson)
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